Wednesday, January 16, 2019

fifth avenue

1/2 Brandy (2 oz Camus VS Cognac)
1/4 Italian Vermouth (1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)
1 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
1 dash Pineapple (1/2 oz)
(1 dash Angostura Bitters recommended, see notes)

The recipe provided no mixing instructions, so I shook with ice and strained into a cocktail coupe. Stirring would be appropriate too.

Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Fifth Avenue. Give the prestigious and historic roadway cutting through Manhattan, there are plenty of unrelated drinks under that name including one that I made in my pre-blog adventures. It may have been the overuse of the name or more likely the unbalanced appearance of the recipe that I caused me to pass it over multiple times. The Pioneers book does have several Manhattan-style (spirit + vermouth) with pineapple that have worked well like the Radio Call and the Martinique, so I set about to adapt the recipe. When I posted the drink on Instagram, a follower asked if a dash of pineapple was enough to be detected. My reply was, "If you truly did a dash, it would be useless. A lot of that book needs to be reinterpreted to be interesting and tasty. I view it as a drink skeleton to exercise your personal balance sensibilities. This is coming from making perhaps a hundred recipes from that book."
At first pass (before I added bitters), the Fifth Avenue shared a pineapple aroma accented with nutty cherry notes. Next, the pineapple continued on into the sip where it mingled with the vermouth's grape, and the swallow gave forth Cognac, nutty cherry, and slightly bitter orange flavors. However, the combination felt a bit disjointed, so I added in a dash of Angostura to the mix. Instantly, the bitters helped solved this problem by tying together the disparate flavors and allowing them to provide depth as the elements were glued together.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

zombie nation

2 oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Orgeat

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and float 1/2 oz (1/4 oz) Herbstura (equal parts Herbsaint and Angostura Bitters). I found a 1/2 oz to be too overpowering for my palate, so I made it with half as much as denoted in paratheses here. I also tended to add the straw before adding the float so that the first sip would be pure of Herbsaint and Angostura spice notes (not done here for the photo's sake). While we had Herbstura pre-batched with a speed pourer on it, making it to order, stirring, and floating it will work well.
For January's Tiki the Snow Away event on Instagram, I decided to make one of my favorite drinks from the River Bar menu in Somerville. The drink was the Zombie Nation created by manager Geoffrey "Trader Geo" Thompson originally for the Tiki Tuesday menu, and it later drifted onto the summer 2017 menu. Somewhat true to the 1934 Zombie by Don the Beachcomber, this contained most of the same ingredients save for rum complexity, falernum, and grenadine; it also added orgeat to the mix and shifted proportions around quite a bit in some aspects. Once prepared, the Zombie Nation greeted the nose with clove and anise aromas. Next, grapefruit and lime mingled with the dark rum's caramel on the sip, and the rum continued on into the swallow where it was accented by almond and cinnamon flavors. Overall, the drink reminded me of a grapefruit-containing Cuban Anole with a simpler rum profile. Later though, as the float entered the equation, the balance got a bit drier with anise, allspice, and clove elements taking charge.

Monday, January 14, 2019


1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Orgeat
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and an inverted paper umbrella.

On New Year's Eve, I was thinking about what drink to make for myself when I got home from working the Holiday shift. At midnight, it would be January and that meant that it was the beginning of the 2019 #TikiTheSnowAway event on Instagram; last year I also did a just-after-midnight post to leap into the event with the Negroni Grog. On the way to work, I was inspired by the 1940 Pat O'Brien's Hurricane as a starting point (and not the current bastardization they serve now), and somehow it entered my mind that I could cross it with the Japanese Cocktail from Jerry Thomas' 1862 book. For a name, I opted for the Japanese term for the storm: Harikēn.
The Harikēn cast about a woody spice that accented the orgeat's nutty notes on the nose. Next, lemon, caramel, and hints of passion fruit on the sip shifted into funky rum, Cognac, nutty, and passion fruit flavors on the swallow with a clove and allspice finish. Despite ending up similar to my Mai Tai riff the Manuia, the lemon and brandy elements took the basic idea in a different flavor direction.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


2 oz White Rum (Uruapan Charanda Blanco)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Sundays ago, I decided to make the Parasol that recently appeared in Imbibe Magazine by Shannon Mustipher of Glady's in Brooklyn. The recipe was part of a preview of his forthcoming book Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails due out in March (and available for pre-order now), and the structure reminded me of another drink from a previous issue of Imbibe called the I Love Lamp with rum and tequila as the base spirits. In the glass, the Parasol cast a nutty spice accent to banana melding into aromatic rum on the nose. Next, lime and pineapple on the sip opened up to funky rum, banana, and pineapple flavors on the swallow. While not too many surprises here, it definitely made for a tasty Daiquiri riff.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


2/3 Haig & Haig Scotch (1 1/2 oz Famous Grouse)
2 dash French Vermouth (1 oz Dolin Blanc)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
(1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Saturdays ago, I sought out a means to treat myself at the end of my work day with something from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The one that called out to me was the Skidmore that was a Whisky Sour with French vermouth. I decided to balance the citrus element with blanc vermouth and a touch of simple syrup instead of opting for the more obvious dry vermouth alone which would have left this rather on the tart side. As prepared, the Skidmore showcased a floral and lemon bouquet that led into a white grape and lemon sip. Next, Scotch, herbal, floral and white grape flavors filled the sip that ended with a rather clean finish. Even with a different base spirit and spirit-to-vermouth ratio, the Skidmore reminded me of Nick Detrich's A Thousand Blue Eyes and Robert Vermeire's X.Y.Z. in feel.

Friday, January 11, 2019

noblesse oblige

1 1/2 oz Grosperrin VSOP Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/3 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford 1970)
1/3 oz Byrrh Quinquina
1 dash Chocolate Bitters (Bittermens Mole)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
For a nightcap two Fridays ago, I selected Tom Sander's 2012 World's Best Cocktails book in search of inspiration, and I landed on the Noblesse Oblige. This Cognac over mezcal number was created by Nicolas de Soto at the Experimental Cocktail Club in London's Chinatown, and the format reminded me of the Chancellor and quinquina-containing riffs like the Administrator. Once prepared, the Noblesse Oblige called forth orange, raisin, and smoke elements to the nose. Next, a rich grape sip bowed to Cognac, smoky agave, and dried fruit flavors on the swallow with a quinine and chocolate finish.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Bourbon (Four Roses)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with 3 cherries (1 cherry).

After my work shift two Thursdays ago, I ventured into my collection of Food & Wine: Cocktails volumes. In the 2008 edition, I spotted a lesser-known Sam Ross recipe called the Grandfather that he crafted at Sona in Los Angeles called the Grandfather. While the combination of whiskey, apple brandy, and vermouth dates back to before Prohibition in drinks like the Caldwell (and the whiskey, brandy, and vermouth formula to 1862 with the Saratoga), I was still up for trying Sam Ross' take on it. Moreover, I thought about using Old Grand-Dad in this recipe; however, the only mark that I currently have is the 114 proof which would probably dominate the balanced here. Therefore, I took the opposite slant and went with a softer one -- Four Roses Yellow Label -- to allow the apple flavors to take center stage.
The Grandfather entered with apple, whiskey, and clove aromas that gave way to a grape and malt sip. Next, the Bourbon and apple flavors entered the swallow along with complementary clove, allspice, and anise accents.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

burdick's cocktail

1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 oz Quinquina (Byrrh)
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.

One night at the Fenix Speakeasy at work, one of my regulars asked for a lighter style of drink, and I made a riff on the Marliave's Cocktail from 1906 Louis' Mixed Drinks utilizing L.N. Mattei's Cap Corse Quinquina Rouge and sweet vermouth (sweet vermouth appears in a similar drink in that book called the Aime). A few days later, I was still thinking about that combination, and I decided to play with it using some flavors in the quinquina-based Ask the Dust that I crafted at Russell House Tavern in 2014. To the Marliave's Cocktail's gin, Maraschino, and orange bitters, I swapped in mezcal, crème de cacao, and Peychaud's Bitters, and for a quinquina, I opted for the Byrrh that worked well in my 2014 creation. I could see Bonal and the new Dubonnet formulation working great here too. The crux of the idea is how well chocolate, quinine, and agave work together.
For a name, I wanted to pay tribute to another Boston locale (the Marliave was a legitimate speakeasy during Prohibition, and the restaurant is still around today), so I was inspired by the chocolate element to call this the Burdick's Cocktail after the Harvard Square chocolatier institution. In the glass, the Burdick's Cocktail proffered lemon and smoke to the nose. Next, a semi-dry grape sip sallied into a smoky agave and chocolate-quinine herbal swallow.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


1 1/2 oz Foro Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 1/2 oz Cocchi Barolo Chinato or Bonal Quinquina (Bonal)
1 dash Absinthe (1 scant bsp Butterfly)
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I began thumbing through Frank Caiafa's The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted the Brut that seemed like a delightfully light aperitif. The recipe was the bar's modern take of the one published in their 1935 bar book that called for Calisaya as the quinquina; while Calisaya has become available again, it is still harder to find than the two proposed quinquinas. The 1935 book in the pre-Prohibition cocktails section offered the history of, "An extremely 'dry' cocktail. 'Brut' (French) means 'raw.' Many customers pronounce it 'Brute,' and so thought it."
The Brut put forth a lemon and anise bouquet to the nose that preceded a semi-dry grape sip. Next, grape, anise, orange, and quinine flavors rounded out the swallow to make for a delightful aperitif or, in this case, a great low proof nightcap.